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Moisture Content in Canned Pet Food

According to AAFCO regulations, the maximum moisture declared in a canned pet food diet shall not exceed 78% unless it is labeled as a stew, gravy, or broth and then may contain moisture in excess of 78% (AAFCO, 2015).This statement is why many companies market their products as stews because it allows them to load the cans up with water. Many of these brands are over 80% moisture and must use thickeners such as glutens, guar gum, xanthan gum powder, or carageenan to make the end product appear thick and presentable. High moisture levels allow the manufacturer to create very inexpensive canned products which can maximize profits. On the other hand, Nature’s Logic uses no artificial thickeners and guarantees a maximum of 72% moisture. Customers will find each can very dense in food with actual moisture levels in the 65% range. This lower moisture offering gives a consumer a lot more for their money. (Reference AAFCO Regulation PF4(f) Expressions of Guarantees).

Natural with Added Vitamins and Minerals

“Natural with added vitamins and minerals” is a disclaimer required by AAFCO on all pet diets being marketed as natural but includes man-made vitamins or minerals. This is because the AAFCO definition of natural says, “a natural product cannot contain chemical alterations” and added vitamins and minerals are mostly synthetic. AAFCO allows this one exception of adding something synthetic to an otherwise natural product as long as a disclaimer is present.Nature’s Logic is one of a few full lines of commercial products that do not add synthetic vitamins or minerals. All required nutrients in Nature’s Logic come from real food ingredients; where vitamins and minerals should come and not from a chemical facility. (Reference AAFCO Definition Guidelines for Natural Claims).

Protein Meal vs. Protein Slurry and Dry Matter Basis

Ingredients in pet food are listed in descending order by their predominance in weight. This predominance by weight includes the water weight when the product is mixed and not the actual weight after the product has been extruded, baked, or dried.

For example, a dry kibble which uses an ingredient such as “beef“ as the first ingredient (which is actually an emulsified slurry) will contain anywhere from 55% to 65% water before processing.

So, if the recipe is 60% beef and 40% dried potato flakes, this company could legally market its diet as 60% meat and 40% potato. Let’s do the math. Assuming the beef was 60 pounds at 55% moisture and the dried potato flakes were 40 pounds at 10% moisture going into the extruder, once this product is extruded and goes into the dryer for the finished product, it dehydrates down to 10% moisture. A huge percentage shift in ingredient weights has occurred.

The 60 pounds of beef, which contained 55% moisture now contains 10% moisture, and is reduced down to 30.3 pounds. The potato, which went in at 10% moisture stills weighs 40 pounds in the end product.

AAFCO allows a company to say this product includes 60% meat and 40% potato when in reality the end product in the bag only contains 30.3 pounds of beef. Still, the product has 40 pounds of dried potato flakes. The real end product has approximately 43% meat at 10% moisture and 52% potato at 10% moisture

Example of a Kibble Formula Using Fresh Beef and Beef Meal
How an Ingredient Panel is allowed to appear for a kibble containing Beef, Beef Meal, Potatoes, Beef Fat

Ingredients Pounds of Ingredients
Beef (Fresh Meat slurry containing 55% moisture) 1,000
Potato Flakes (Goes in at 10% moisture) 700
Beef Fat (Sprayed on after processing and drying) 300
Total Pre-extruded weight of batch mixture) 2,000

 

How the same Ingredient Panel would appear if put in actual order of final dried processed weight of each ingredient

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Ingredients Pounds of Ingredients
Potato Flakes (Still at 10% moisture) 700
Beef (Fresh Meat now extruded and dried down to 10% moisture) 505
Beef Fat (Sprayed on after processing and drying) 300
Total Yield of batch after extrusion and drying 1,505

 

As you can see the final product is not meat based food but a potato based diet. The highest protein the example above could be guaranteed is approximately 24% protein. Now, take a look at the example below using Beef Meal.

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Example of a Kibble Formula Using Beef Meal

 

Ingredients Pounds of Ingredients
Beef Meal (still at 10% moisture) 1,000
Potato Flakes (still at 10% moisture) 700
Beef Fat (Sprayed on after processing and drying) 300
Total Yield of batch after extrusion and drying 2,000

 

How the same Ingredient Panel would appear if put in actual order of final processed weight of each ingredient:

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Ingredients Pounds of Ingredients
Beef Meal (Goes at 10% moisture) 1,000
Potato Flakes (Goes at 10% moisture) 700
Beef Fat (Sprayed on after processing and drying) 300
Total Yield of batch after extrusion and drying 2,000

 

During processing, all ingredients are dried to a 10% moisture level to maintain shelf life.

Since all ingredients, including the beef meal, start out at 10% moisture, the end product is also 10 percent moisture keeping all ingredients the same order of weight inclusion in the final product.

The same quality meat and poultry can be used to make high quality “meals” which have the moisture already removed. These quality meals also contain an excellent amino acid profile contrary to what some people believe.

Using high quality meals also allow a manufacturer to put more animal protein into a diet because the water has already been removed. For many companies, putting a “meat” or “poultry” as first ingredient is purely a marketing ploy which is misleading the customer as to how much real animal protein is in the final, dried product.

If the actual end dried weight of the “meat” or “poultry” was listed by their predominance by weight after drying, then these ingredients would be listed much further down the ingredient list and would not be listed as the number one ingredient.

(Reference AAFCO Regulation PF5 Ingredients.)

Heavy Metal Contaminants in Pet Food

“Official Guidelines for Contaminant Levels Permitted in Mineral Feed Ingredients” – That is the title of Chapter 4 in the American Feed Control Officials Incorporated (AAFCO) official publication. This chapter addresses the problem of heavy metal contaminants that are in the sourced minerals used in animal/pet foods. This could be arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals that can harm animals at certain levels.

For example, Zinc Oxide, a very common source of Zinc added to many pet foods, is a by-product of making brass. Chapter 4 gives guidelines how industry selling this as a mineral supplement must dilute it down to get the levels of arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium down to a level which will create a margin of safety when consumed.

Here is how the dilution procedure is worded: “The equation used to set the limits is designed to handle worst case situations, since it is based upon the most toxic element in each group and assumes the lowest dilution of the ingredient (dilution factor of 25). Thus, an additional margin of safety is provided automatically for all but the highest toxicity contaminants in each group and for the highest nutrient requirements.” Click here to see a portion of the referenced AAFCO publication.

Here are a few examples of minerals with metals you may find in some foods: sodium selenite, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, calcium carbonate, zinc oxide or zinc amino acid complex, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, iron oxide or iron proteinate, magnesium amino acid complex, potassium amino acid complex, and manganese amino acid complex. These additives are allowed to have certain levels of heavy metal contaminants which AAFCO guidelines are trying to manage to make safer for use in pet food.

Why not just get needed minerals from food? Rather than deal with the unknown and known potential health issues with these cheaper elements, Nature’s Logic does it with food. All required mineral nutrients in all Nature’s Logic diets are supplied in adequate amounts from safe and natural whole foods; where nutrients for pets should be derived.  Click Here for more information on this topic.

Hidden Ingredients

Nature’s Logic derives all required nutrients such as vitamins and minerals from its whole food ingredients. You will never see a vitamin or mineral name on a Nature’s Logic pet food ingredient panel because they are naturally occurring in the nutritious and wholesome food ingredients.

This is not true for some other commercial dry and canned diets. They add as many as 20 to 26 chemically synthesized vitamins and minerals made in chemical plants to make up for their nutritional inadequacies.

The problem is that these un-natural element additives are not merely what they appear to be; innocent supplements. Not only do they pose potential toxicity issues addressed in many scientific studies, but also they can contain many undisclosed processing aids, preservatives, and other additives. If you are using a pet food with added vitamins, it will likely contain other things such as BHT and ethoxyquin as preservatives, rice hulls and corncob as carriers, sodium aluminum as an anti-caking agent, and other processing aids such as gelatin, mineral oil, sucrose, and modified starch. Not exactly what you want to be feeding your pet.

The natural alternative is Nature’s Logic. We do it with 100% natural, whole foods. We have no need to use chemical vitamin and mineral supplements. Our adequacy comes from formulating with enough wholesome and nutritious whole foods, which supply all needed nutrients for pets without the use of synthetic elements, additives, or processing aids. Doing it with food, as nature designed it, is the logic behind Nature’s Logic.

Another Hidden ingredient - MSG

Another hidden ingredient in many pet foods is monosodium glutamate (MSG). The reason it is in most pet foods, including premium natural foods, is because the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require MSG to be disclosed on the label due to the way it is added.

MSG shows up in most pet foods through what is called hydrolyzed protein. This ingredient is not listed when it is added as a natural flavoring, because AAFCO allows the ingredient panel to say, “Natural Flavoring”.
Almost all added palatants on pet food labels such as Natural Flavoring or Liver Digest are created by hydrolysis. Hydrolysis is what forms the MSG in the end process. Click here to see a sample of a proteinate mineral feed tag showing hydrolyzed protein.

The following is the definition of Hydrolyzed Proteins from the book The Dictionary of Food Ingredients:

“They are flavor enhancers obtained from  vegetable proteins… the proteins are hydrolyzed into the component amino acids after which the reaction mixture is neutralized with sodium carbonate and refined.  The refined liquid consists of amino acids, monosodium glutamate, amino acid derivatives, salt, and water… It normally contains 9-12% monosodium glutamate and the remaining fraction consists of solids” (2011).
According to the FDA, “Hydrolyzed protein is used to enhance flavor. The chemical breakdown of proteins may result in the formation of free glutamate that joins with free sodium to form monosodium glutamate (MSG). When added this way, the labels are not required to list MSG as an ingredient.” Click here to see what the USDA has to say about natural flavorings on meat and poultry labels.

Nature’s Logic never uses hydrolyzed proteins. The chicken and pork liver used on and in Nature’s Logic products are 100% spray dried. This is the most natural way to dry thermally sensitive ingredients.  Also, it is the best way to prevent the creation of MSG.